How to draw a comic strip at Northwest Comic Fest
Comic strip creator and instructor at Chemeketa Community College Ted Bergeron brought his skills to Northwest Comic Fest teaching a one hour session on how to draw a comic strip. Bergeron says that the process of drawing a strip can be broken down into three steps:
Story must come first. Good comic strips have a theme, a setting and a genre. Artists can collaborate with writers (or vice versa) if storylines are not their strongest suit.
“The story is what keeps people coming back,” says Bergeron.
The art tends to be the longest part of the process. Characters should be designed and have a character sheet so that they stay consistent from one strip to the next, and artists should work at twice the printed size. Generally, a 13” x 4” Bristol board is a good start. Artists should sketch the drawing first and then darken in the lines they want to keep.
“Sharing is the part that is probably the most rewarding,” says Bergeron. “I like to think of sharing as the 21st century way to publish.”
Every comic strip writer should start out with six weeks of material before publishing on line. Consistency is the key to building a following, and the extra comic strips offer a buffer if the artist needs to take a vacation or happens to get ill.
For those who want to see their work in print, Bergeron says that King Features is always looking for artists. Guidelines for submission can be found here.
Bergeron recommends that people keep a little notebook and a pen at all times to write down ideas when they occur. (See information about the Idea Marathon here.)
Bergeron’s daughter inspired him when she asked him to draw a strip for her zine. After drawing several strips, he decided to publish his own zine of comics. He draws Beebot Comics. See the presentation slide show here.